According to an article published in Business 2.0, permission based marketing, commonly known as email marketing is reported to earn a response rate of more than 11.4%, easily outdoing banners which reported a mere 0.55% response rate. Based on these statistics, it is obvious that a successful web marketing strategy should embrace email marketing as one of the key strategies. In this article I am going to discuss the nine basic principles you need to know to apply this result-generating marketing strategy for your web venture. Read on.
1) Do not Spam
In the world of internet marketing, SPAMMING is the absolute SIN. Spamming is the one area in which it is better to be safe that sorry. Spammers get blacklisted and become pariahs in not only the marketing world but in any internet related activities. The damage done by spam is deemed irreparable; in fact, the only lasting solution to sites that have been listed as spammers is to give up the whole endeavor all together and begin afresh under a different name and with a new look, a time consuming and expensive exercise.
Send out product offers and newsletters only to those who have opted in for your list. Do not be deluded into thinking that the attractiveness of your offer might offset the anger of somebody on your list receiving an email they did not ask for. As long as the person did not clearly subscribe to your list, then it is spam and you risk being blacklisted as a spammer with the aforementioned consequences.
2) Build your own email lists
There are numerous companies advertising for those interested in purchasing a custom made mailing list. Beware of these fraudsters. According to most surveys, for any purchased mailing list of about 2000 subscribers, at least 20% will be hostile, another 10% will eventually lead to dead ends and you can expect at least 15-18% to be outdated. This leaves you with a paltry 50% of the initial list. Take into account the statistics mentioned at the introduction and you are looking at less than 5% of the list purchased.
This leaves you with only one other option. Creating your own home-made mailing lists
There are many ways of achieving this but the best approach is by publishing your own e-zine and posting an announcement on community sites and related newsgroups and generating an interest before you start sending out the e-zine to those who opt in. Initially, you should count yourself lucky to have even 100 subscribers but gradually as the word spreads round, and depending on the quality of your content this should increase to reflect on your site’s popularity and rating with the target market.
3) Acknowledge all subscriptions
Subscribers do usually forget what they subscribe to and it pays to send a confirmation of the initial subscription followed sometime later by another mail to reconfirm their status before sending any email messages to them. The first confirmation message can be auto-generated text that can be easily created using any web programming language. The second re-confirmation email however should be a personalized mail that will set the atmosphere for your dealings with the subscriber. Everyone likes to be referred to by their names in any correspondence and this includes email. The purpose of this second email is twofold. On one hand it enables you to confirm the authenticity of the subscriber’s email address and secondly, and more importantly it gives you a chance to explain and clarify to the subscriber what it is that they are subscribing to.
4) Maintain an updated list of all subscribers
To protect yourself from any legal backlashes, maintain an updated list of all subscribers to your e-zines. If possible you should also have the ISP addresses saved for future reference. If your subscribers choose to complain about your e-zines being an invasion of their privacy, you should be able to show them proof of their subscription, complete with dates and ISP address. This list if properly maintained can save you a lot of trouble later on.
5)Utilize the subscribers information for better service
As I mentioned earlier, people are more likely to feel a bond with you if the messages to them are personalized. Personalized salutations especially are a powerful attention grabbing way that improves the chances that the reader will read your mail and better still respond to the offer included in it.
Avoid using salutations such as “To whoever it may concern”, “Dear Unknown”, “To Subscriber”. Instead try to have the subscriber’s name in the salutation but only when you are certain about their names, otherwise refer to them by their email addresses for example, “Dear email@example.com” etc. Making a mistake in the salutation ensures that your mail will never see the light of day and your effort will be wasted. Do not use any personal information provided for any purpose not clearly indicated in your Legal Disclaimer.
6) Respond promptly and clearly to all enquiries
On the Net, the best way to assure your clients of your dedication to their best interests is by a quick, clear and informative reply to their email questions. You should have a 24 hour reply service that generates automated messages in the absence of someone to reply to the subscriber’s question. Good customer support is paramount to your success on the Net. Subscribers need to feel that they are cared for otherwise they will go elsewhere where they feel that their time, effort and money are going to be better appreciated.
7) Allow opt-out with every email sent
It is necessary to have an opt-out section in every email you send out to your mailing list subscribers. Humans are by nature dynamic and this means that change is inevitable. Someone who may have been interested in your newsletter may no longer have a need for it. Be sure to have clear and easy to understand instruction for anyone who for any reason might want to discontinue their receipt of your mailing. When a subscriber opts to unsubscribe, make sure that you send a confirmation mail to indicate that they have been removed from the mailing list. The subscriber should leave with no dissatisfaction as to your conduct as a Web marketer. You should avoid creating bad blood as it might come back to haunt you.
8) Give something of value in return to the subscriber’s time
You subscribers should feel that there is mutual benefit by their subscribing to your mailing list. When the subscriber receives any email from you, they should feel that by reading it even without taking up the offers included, that they are already gaining valuable information. Just like the content on your site, the content in your mail is important if you are to have a loyal and devoted group of subscribers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlz Wachira is CEO and co-founder of http//www.e-gnorance.com, an online venture aimed at promoting entrepreneurial endeavors globally. He writes on a variety of issues related to entrepreneurship, e-commerce and online marketing.
By: Charlz Wachira
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